Luke 14 v 5. “Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?’
How did Jesus deal with these hard-hearted people? What did he say to contradict their hypocrisy?
He pointed out that if any of them had either a son, or an ox, that fell into the water on the Sabbath day, they would not leave either the child or the animal there until the Sabbath had passed. But here was a man with a chronic illness and who might soon die. Why make him wait for the Sabbath to be over, before he can be rescued? They would not treat their own children, or even their own animals, which represented their wealth, in that way.
But a heart gripped in the vice of cold and heartless religion does not always think rationally. You can see that today in the religions that promote suicide bombs, the heartless killings of innocent and defenceless people and the rape and mutilation of women. There is no relational logic. Ironically it is all about gaining merit to enter heaven.
The problem with legalism is that it always creates new laws. So a simple and benevolent law like the Sabbath gets more laws added to it until it becomes an unbearable burden. Hard religious hearts feel that the stricter the laws are the more merit they piled up for themselves. There is no love in this kind of religion. There is only the hoped for achievement with its rewards. It will never come.
A hard religious heart is not prepared to give up what is imagined to be his merits. But it is wrong. Their concept of God was wrong. Their concept of God’s love was wrong. Their concept of Salvation was wrong.
Just because they invited Jesus to dinner does not mean that the door of heaven will open for them. Christ is not the Chairman of a religious club to which any person can join no matter what they believe. He is the Son of the Master of the House. A banquet is an expression of what God is like – welcoming, kind, gracious, beneficial and sustaining. To reject Jesus and His teaching in favour of some other view of God is to reject the final “Banquet” in the world to come.